Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a fairweather shopper

Ah, the farmers' market.  I love being there so much.

I love the cool morning air, the fresh new day.  I love the dewy produce: crisp heads of lettuce in all manner of variety, whichever fruit is in season at the moment.  I even love all the artisan items.  There are things such as jewelry, knitwear, doll clothing, and homemade condiments - to name just a few.

I always count the weeks to the first day of the farmers' market (generally around the second weekend of May), and lament when it comes to an end at the close of October.  I adore the idea, the atmosphere, and the people.  Folks just seem happier there, somehow.

And yet...I haven't been there much this year.

I've gone a few times, and mightily enjoyed my time strolling the rows.  I've gone home with my arms full of berries - or honey - or both.  I've eyed the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, sauntered to the tempo of the musicians, sampled the goods.  The market is so much fun.


The parking is horrible.  There are many more cars around than previously.  The times I've been this year, I've had to park considerably farther away than I used to.  And when you're carrying a heavy load, and/or have a child with you, or you're in a hurry, or it's chilly or rainy - well, it's less than convenient.

Another thing I've thought through is the fact that it's increasingly important to me to purchase organic produce - certified or otherwise.  Although there are numerous vegetable booths, only a few advertise being organic or "no spray."  Granted, this issue is more important for some items then others.  Strawberries?  I'll only buy organic.  Squash? I relax my standards a little.  But my family's health is too important to me to compromise much in this area.

In fact, the farm from which I prefer to buy, they have a farm stand elsewhere which is open 6 days a week.  I can park very near by, and if I have kids along I can even leave them in the car for the two minutes it takes to hop out and make my selection.  Also, we are getting a ton of vegetables from our weekly CSA baskets, and I purchase farm fresh eggs from people who live in my area.  We are still buying local, seasonal goods from the farmer.

So truly, between the parking, the weather, and the time ...making it to the farmers' market hasn't seemed as worth the effort this year.

I do feel bad about that.  Because truly, I love the farmers' market, and I do want to support those sellers.  But you know, there are seasons.  Right now being a little more efficient is important to me.  I don't have a lot of extra time to waste on Saturday mornings.  Maybe when my kids are older, maybe when the season changes (and certainly before the CSA baskets are ready for the year) I will frequent those beloved stalls again.  My heart is there with the local sellers, the seasonal food, the fresh, good, clean stuff - and those who are likeminded.

Still, I don't feel too badly.  If the parking situation is any indication, my local farmers' market is growing wildly popular.  So...I suppose one little suburban mom staying away isn't gonna matter too terribly much.

Even so, I'll be back.

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